Review for "Nitro Mountain" by Lee Clay Johnson (2016) Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
“Nitro Mountain” is less of a novel and more like a set of novellas, a set of three interconnected short stories about the lives of several people in Bordon, a small, fictional mining town in the Virginia mountains. The book starts with Leon, a broken-armed bass player, and moves onto Arnett, a drug dealing loser, and later on, his dysfunctionally dysfunctional girlfriend Jennifer. Other people come and go throughout the novel: members of a local country western band, waitresses at the local bar hop, Leon’s mom, etc. All are trapped in a kind of suspended animation, an endless of loop of drugs, drinking, dead end jobs, and violence.
I didn’t really like this book. Nothing spectacular happens, and the shape of this book is hopelessly monotone. As I said before, there really isn’t much of a plot–just a bird’s eye view of rural white folks playing guitar, sleeping around, drinking, popping pills, getting arrested, and just being general fuck-ups. Whether it was intended to be this way is probably the entire point, not so much plot driven but more of a character study of the daily lives of people on Nitro Mountain. Either way, I didn’t care about it. Not so much the characters bothered me, but the execution. Oh, the execution. The devil in the details.
Skip this book.
P.S. – The Bambi pic on the cover is cute.